Have you ever dreamed about going back to school to open up doors for new career opportunities or to advance in your current industry? You might want to check out the Project Working Mom website, a resource made possible by American InterContinental University, DeVry University, and Walden University.
The Project Working Mom site allows you to find out about a variety of online programs and to connect with other moms who are studying online.
What I Don't Like About PWM
I have to admit the website itself is a bit disappointing in that it comes across as rather trite and superficial. There are a limited number of rather shallow articles...and then there are quizzes (a la Seventeen Magazine) where you can determine what field you should go into based on your favorite TV show.
Another downside of the site is the all-too-common (especially in the for-profit university sector) push for student loans. Many of the articles imply that loans are simply part of going to college (which doesn't have to be true). This message comes across in subtle, but forceful overtones.
What I Wish Was Different about PWM
1. I would like to see a more "professional" website layout and design. The site should look like a university/academic website first and a website for moms second in order to maintain the integrity of the sponsoring universities and eLearners.com.
2. I would also be impressed by a more academic environment. For example, the category buttons should have more educational tones - "Select A University" instead of "Go Back to School" and "Explore Academic Disciplines" instead of "Find an Online Program." The quizzes should be swapped out for career profiles from the US Department of Labor site and articles written by professors about their respective fields.
3. I realize that the creators were striving to make the site "mom-friendly" and that's a noble goal, but it can't be done at the expense of jeopardizing the reputation of the sponsoring universities'. This kind of site perpetuates the myth that online degrees aren't "real degrees." The "mom-friendliness" should be channeled into appropriate venues - perhaps biographies of women in various careers. The site should be perceived as intelligent and scholarly first, friendly and modern second.
4. I would appreciate a more objective and optimistic financial aid section. The articles should encourage a debt-free approach to education. Scholarships, grants, and personal savings should be emphasized, while loans should be de-emphasized...especially since this is a site for working moms.
5. A "Resources" page would be nice. A "links" or "resources" page would be the best way to informalize the site. The page could direct moms to Jobs and Moms, Mom Corps, Mommy Track'd, Needlestack Jobs, and other sites for working moms.
What I Like About PWM
The reason that I am directing you to the Project Working Mom site is because I believe in the site's mission: "to help establish much-needed resources for the working mother population."
What this boils down to is that you can apply for one of 40+ full-ride scholarships for a Certificate, Associates, Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate degree. The scholarships are available to single or married moms who are working in part time, full time, or entrepreneurial settings. The first application deadline is April 30.
In addition to the 40+ scholarships, there is also a scholarship search engine to help you locate other scholarships not affiliated with PWM.
I believe in the power of education - it opens doors to allow for more flexible and high-paying positions - and I want moms to have a piece of that power.
Go check out PWM and let me know what you think!